As we are short on time we decided to go on a day trip to Halong bay as we had been told that it was a 'must see' place and although we hate tour groups thought that we best put up with other tourists for one day so we could see it. Our hotel kept hassling us to book a tour through them to Halong bay, so we shopped around and they did end up being the cheapest so we booked with them.
It was an early start so we got up expecting someone to be up so we could have breakfast as it came with the price of the hotel room. We waited about 30 minutes and nothing seemed to be happening, the man was more interested in selling 2 girls another tour, so i ended up losing my patience and making my own breakfast. I went into the Kitchen and found the bread and butter and made myself some toast. Matthew was absolutely pissing himself, but i need my breakfast before i can go anywhere, and they didn't seem too bothered about what i was doing anyway.
The tour was ok, the boat was decent and although it was cold at least there was no rain. Halong bay was beautiful, words alone cannot do justice to this natural wonder. It is a group of 3000 limestone peaks rising from the sea. It is a world heritage site and we could definately see why. All around us the views were just fantastic even though the day wasn't that great. On the way through the peaks we came across a water village and we stopped off at a fishing village where they tried to get all the tourist to buy some fish for their lunch, they were charging around 20 quid for a red snapper, most people refused to buy them apart from the stupid Japanese with more money than sense, as lunch provided on the boat was sufficient, and if it was enough food for me and matthew there was definately enough food for everyone else!
Once we'd had lunch the tour guide tried to get more money out of us to go and visit a cave in a small motor boat, this was the boat that Matthew had just watched them fixing for about 20 minutes so we didn't buy it and waited for those that went to come back, just admiring the views before we went to the main cave, and it was an awesome cave. It was huge, the best one we have been in so far. Even though it had been made touristy with the different coloured lights we still really enjoyed it.
It was a great day and well worth the money, even though a bit cold. Another night in Hanoi and then onto Ninh Binh.